FAQs About Board Licensing Complaints & Investigations

I just learned a complaint has been filed against me. What’s next?

Most licensees realize a complaint has been filed when they are contacted by an investigator from the Department of Health Professions. This communication may occur by phone or you may receive a copy of the complaint in the mail or by email. All complaints should be taken seriously, but upon investigation, many claims are unsubstantiated, and the matters are closed. Regardless, we recommend you consult with a lawyer at the outset who understand the process and can advocate for you as it progresses.

What should I know about a Board investigation?

You can expect that an investigator from the Department of Health Professions will start by collecting information from the source of the complaint. The investigator will also interview you and any pertinent witnesses before compiling the information into a report. The report will be submitted to the relevant Board for review.

Can I ignore a frivolous complaint?

Please do not ignore a complaint, even if it seems inconsequential. Licensed individuals are required by law to provide information to the Board or investigators with the Department of Health Professions. Not providing this information can result in disciplinary action. Share only what is requested and speak with counsel before volunteering additional information.

Is speaking with the investigator really necessary? 

It is important to be polite and cooperative with an investigator. If an investigator contacts you directly, we recommend you tell them politely but firmly that you will consult with legal counsel prior to answering any questions about the complaint. Your lawyer will communicate directly with the investigator to ensure you are not intimidated and that your rights are respected during the investigation process.

Will this impact my career in the future?

It can. The details of allegations related to public disciplinary actions are published on on the Board’s website and on licensure verification sites. They may also be reported to the National Practitioner Data Bank.

In addition, public disciplinary actions remain visible throughout a provider’s career. If you are seeking credentials or licenses in the future, you may be required to disclose those actions. In some cases factual findings in public disciplinary orders have prevented healthcare providers from obtaining employment in specific settings.

Because of the long-term effects these actions can have on your career, it is important to understand the process and prepare a thorough defense.

Who do you represent?

We counsel health professionals when complaints are filed against them with any of the 14 professional health regulatory boards within the Virginia Department of Health Professions:

  • Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
  • Board of Counseling
  • Board of Dentistry
  • Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers
  • Board of Health Professions
  • Board of Long-Term Care Administrators
  • Board of Medicine
  • Board of Nursing
  • Board of Optometry
  • Board of Pharmacy
  • Board of Physical Therapy
  • Board of Psychology
  • Board of Social Work
  • Board of Veterinary Medicine

Learn more about our healthcare attorneys here. Learn more about our Healthcare Regulatory Board Licensing practice here.